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Using best–worst scaling to identify barriers to walkability: a study of Porto Alegre, Brazil


  • Ana Margarita Larranaga

    (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul)

  • Julián Arellana

    (Universidad del Norte)

  • Luis Ignacio Rizzi

    (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

  • Orlando Strambi

    (University of São Paulo-Escola Politécnica)

  • Helena Beatriz Bettella Cybis

    (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul)


This paper pursues three goals: (1) determining the relative importance of built environment barriers limiting walkability, (2) analyzing the existence of an asymmetry in the way people evaluate positive and negative built environment characteristics, and (3) identifying solutions to tackle the main barriers and quantify their impact in walkability. A best–worst scaling survey was developed to compare the importance of eight different attributes of the built environment regarding walkability. Model results show an asymmetry negative–positive in the judgment and choice of built environment characteristics that promote and impede walkability. The most important barriers, obtained from worst responses, are connectivity, topography, sidewalk surface and absence of policemen. Walkability scores were computed for different neighbourhoods and different policy scenarios were forecasted. Simulation results from the worst responses indicate that improvements in sidewalk quality, along with an increase in the number of police officers, lead to an 85% increase in the walkability score for the lower income neighbourhoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Margarita Larranaga & Julián Arellana & Luis Ignacio Rizzi & Orlando Strambi & Helena Beatriz Bettella Cybis, 2019. "Using best–worst scaling to identify barriers to walkability: a study of Porto Alegre, Brazil," Transportation, Springer, vol. 46(6), pages 2347-2379, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:46:y:2019:i:6:d:10.1007_s11116-018-9944-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s11116-018-9944-x

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